HONOLULU — The Asia-Pacific region is challenged by a number of problems, both old and new. That was the topic of discussion when retired Navy Admiral Dennis Blair spoke to the Fellows of Executive Course 06-2 at the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies on Wednesday, August 10th.
Admiral Blair spoke about the changes in the Asia-Pacific since he served as the commander of U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) four years ago.
He identified some old problems such as tensions between Taiwan and China as well as tensions on the Korean Peninsula. He felt that over the years the potential for conventional military conflicts in these areas have diminished greatly.
The new problems included terrorism by fundamentalist groups, piracy, and natural disasters including spread of the avian flu. He praised the countries in the Asia-Pacific for working together so well to deal with these problems especially the humanitarian responses in the wake of the 2004 Tsunami.
He urged counties to continue to building strong internal inter-agency responses as well as transnational solutions.
Admiral Blair is president of the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA). He was Senior Fellow from October 1, 2002 to November 3, 2003 when he became IDA’s President. He is a former U.S. PACOM Commander . As the senior U.S. military commander in the Pacific and Indian Ocean areas from February 1999 to May 2002, he led the largest of the unified commands and directed Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force operations across more than 100 million square miles.
During his 34-year Navy career, Admiral Blair served at sea on guided missile destroyers. He commanded USS Cochrane (DDG-15), homeported in Yokosuka, Japan. He also commanded Naval Station Pearl Harbor and the USS Kitty Hawk Battlegroup.
Ashore, Admiral Blair served in budget and policy positions on several major Navy staffs, the Joint Staff, and the National Security Council staff. He was also the first Associate Director of Central Intelligence for Military Support. A 1968 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Admiral Blair earned a master’s degree in History and Languages from Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, and served as a White House Fellow at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Admiral Blair has been awarded the Defense Distinguished Service Medal four times, the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal twice, and has received decorations from the governments of Japan, Thailand, Korea and Australia.
Admiral Blair has been a supporter of APCSS since he helped cut the ribbon for the Ft. DeRussy location in August 2000.